Star Trek has become one of the most influential sci-fi franchises to ever exist. Spanning decades, bookshelves, tv screens, and theaters, the exploration of where no man has gone before has marveled fans for over fifty years. While the Original Series with Captain James T Kirk started it all, the series that jettisoned the franchise to its peak was 1987’s Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The Original Series was revolutionary, but TNG made the series its most popular. TNG balanced an indulgence in scientific possibilities, while also maintaining a human element and drama that kept viewers coming back. It also famously started the trend of each Star Trek series having bumpy first seasons, only to grow into much better shows by their ends. TNG spawned several immediate spin-offs, including Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, and more recently, Discovery. But more importantly, it gave fans some unforgettable characters in Data, Worf, Q, and most importantly, its illustrious Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
Now, it doesn’t matter if you’re Team Kirk or Picard. Any Star Trek fan has to admit the merits of the French captain. He was a cultured diplomat who simply loved discovery. While Kirk was hot-blooded and insatiably brave, Picard was cooly determined and scholarly. They each had their merits. Unlike the Original Series, where the triad of Kirk, McCoy, and Spock were the best parts of the series, Captain Picard stood firmly at the center of TNG. A gamble, but with the great character Picard was, a wildly successful one. The crew and show itself grew around his strength.
The episodes that center around the captain are some of the strongest in the series. This includes “Darmok”, “The Inner Light”, “Tapestry”, and “All Goods Things…”. They showed varying levels of his frustrations, regrets, fears, humanity, all centered around his indomitable determination. He played a lute, loved to quote Moby Dick, yet was one of the most unwavering minds who always sought peace before violence, but also revolution before surrender. Picard was a complex character who deserved all the fan adoration he gets.
Of course, it helps when the actor playing this role is possibly one of the most brilliant in current day and age. Sir Patrick Stewart is moving on stage and on screen. He’s classically trained in Shakespearean acting, but has also played iconic roles such as Ebenezer Scrooge, Professor X, and MacBeth. He’s been knighted by the queen, he’s a gay rights advocate, and he’s best friends with Ian Mckellen. Sir Patrick Stewart is on a level of “awesome” that inspires people every day.
And combining Sir Patrick Stewart with the well-written character of Jean-Luc Picard? The end result is nearly magical.
After sixteen years of not playing the character, Sir Patrick Stewart was overjoyed to announce that he would be returning to the Star Trek universe with a new Picard-centric series. As a fan-darling and the Captain who inspired thousands, the news was received with uproarious applause. The show will air on CBS’ streaming services.
The only unfortunate part is that there is no solid premiere date yet, only announcements of production.
However, the project is still exciting on many fronts. Other than Picard’s return, it will be the series set furthest in the future. The past few installments have all been prequels, before Kirk’s Original Series, so it’ll be fascinating to see the technological growth of the Federation. Also, there’s a high likelihood of cameos and inclusions of other fan favorites, ducking in and out of the series. After all, it’d be unlikely for Picard to never see the people he championed the starship Enterprise with.
The announcement has roused excitement, hype, and speculation in all Star Trek fans. But every Star Trek fan also must admit that it’s the chance to see the brilliance of Stewart’s Picard on the screen once again that is the most exciting part of all. Now he’ll be able to inspire a whole new generation of trekkies all over again.